The bane of self-justification

November 14, 2017 | 18 comments

Have you ever thought through the evils of self-justification?

It can feel so innocent when indulged.

Someone accuses you of a wrong, and you react in anger and unleash a torrent of reasons and explanations as to why you are right.

Or you feel misunderstood, and you spend hours ruminating in your own mind about all the reasons why you’re right.

Or you worry about what other people think, and spend considerable time and effort explaining yourself and justifying your actions, when a simple short explanation would suffice.

The extent of how evil self-justification is hit me when studying this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Mary Baker Eddy wrote,

“Self-love is more opaque than a solid body. In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death” (page 242).

Self-justification is self-love. It yells to the world, “I’m beholden to myself more than anything else.”

Self-love is the opposite of God-love. You can’t love God with your whole heart when your primary goal is to justify a mortal self and stance. Focus on defending self is the opposite of loving and trusting God. It’s love of the one Ego versus self-absorption into the vain mortal ego.

Self-justification is an “adamant of error,” which would prop up suffering and make it appear unyielding.

A dictionary definition of self-justification is: the act or fact of justifying oneself, especially of offering excessive reasons, explanations, excuses, etc., for an act, thought, or the like.

Eddy also lists self-justification along with the ugliest and worst characteristics of mortal mind. On page 115 of Science and Health, we find,


First Degree: Depravity.

Physical. Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death.

Self-justification is not good. It’s evil. It’s wise not to indulge it, but learn to love and trust God more.

18 thoughts on “The bane of self-justification”

  1. Evan, thank you very much for this – I opened it just after an argument with my dear husband. It had not been a serious one, but I had been somewhat self-righteous and so your article really made me re-pent, i.e. think again!

  2. It is ALWAYS NEEDED to love and trust God more! And I thank you, Evan, for pointing out the scientific translation of mortal mind, because in that very definition we find the errors of thought and action and their results! I always enjoy your wholesome emphasis on things of the Spirit, and am so very grateful to God for His constant love and provision! MarySue Harris

  3. Thank you, Evan for this much needed reminder. As I was reading it, I had a deep sense of gratitude for all your blogs. Each morning I look forward to them. I have often saved them to use in my further study and have shared them with friends. Thank you!

  4. Thank you so much Evan for this reminder which as you said, “Self-justification is an “adamant of error,” which would prop up suffering and make it appear unyielding.”

  5. Thank you Ethan for today’s reading. Recently I have spent much energy defending my ego, justifying my ‘hurt’ feelings and anger toward a family member. I am learning to trust God more each day. Your readings are so helpful in my discovery of my true self.

  6. Wow. You hit this subject head on, Evan. Justifying self is what causes most of our problems, isn’t it? I am keeping this one in my spiritual ideas file! And how do we get rid of the three self issues (self love, self justification, self will). We need to LABOR (it’s often hard work) WITH the universal solvent of Love ( God). God helps us all (universal Love) in our labors to shed all that is unlike our true natures. Thanks, Evan, this is SO good!

  7. Great Spiritview! Mortal mind would love to hit the play button again and again on a human history and indulge itself in self important stories. I’m angry at so and so because… I have a different opinion… my way is more right… look at that disease. It is there because… look at the disharmony that occurred because… My hereditary history justifies…
    Thank you for waking us up to it’s subtle talk.

  8. Oh that hit a cord in my soul, Evan. In my former working life I was wrongly accused of something I knew personally that I would never do and I later left the company of employment as a reaction. It took me several years to resolve the hurt until I was finally free of it. There was plenty of self-justification flowing through my thought at the time. Eventually, that company came back to me when I was working as a consultant to finish the project that I was involved with at the time this happened. Everyone was released from the error that seemingly occurred. Although it was difficult to encounter at the time, it moved me forward spiritually which is to understand our purpose universally as children of our loving Father-Mother God. Thank you for this so eloquent post.

  9. Good Morning, I love how this goes along with this week’s bible lesson on Soul and body. There is only one identity, ego, Soul, God. We reflect and express this one being, effortlessly. No need for mortal self-justificstion. Thank you God, thank you Evan.

  10. i have never used the phrase self-justification and now I understand it. But I am learning that when I am explaining and defending myself in my thoughts or talking out loud it is mortal mind speaking. I had an incident recently and I rested in the thought that what God thinks is all that matters. I pulled back and looked at the situation as a bad Italian movie.

  11. Thanks, Evan, for posting this. That quote is one I hold dear, and am working with. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are justifying ourselves. We have to “stand porter at the door of thought.”

  12. Excellent. Having worked in the jails as a volunteer chaplain, I’ve seen just how much self-justification is a deterrent to our spiritual growth.

  13. Many years ago I was falsely accused of not performing my responsibilities as the assistant manager of a large credit union by the manager at a board meeting. In anticipation of this, I had prepared several 3 x 5 file cards with ideas I wanted to hold onto rather than reacting. I got through the board meeting without justifying the reasons I had not been able to perform these functions, i.e. the manager herself. However, at the end of the day the manager called me into her office and informed me that I was fired on the spot. I packed up my things and left quietly. However, the challenge to not indulge in self-justification after the fact was strong. And I did find it necessary to explain in job interviews the circumstances of my dismissal. I don’t know if this would be considered self-justification.

    1. There’s an article by Ella Hoag on jsh–online called “Silencing Self-Justification.” As I read it I realized that my holding that others held unjust thoughts about me was self-justification of myself as victim.
      We are the image of infinite Love, and Love shines. It sees only the sunlit man, never man manipulated by evil. Rising to see evil as a nothing — never something that can touch anyone, we’re targets out of range, and so are they. God never allowed a single idea to push another out of position. God positions us all. Has anyone or anything the power to change what God does?
      We are spiritual ideas, joyously alive in the kingdom of God, forever in our right place. There’s no other place to be.

  14. Thank you Evan to make me ponder about this theme. And I notice that I used to justify myself. But everytime then, I did not feel well with it. But it is a worse quality than I thought, I must admit. The more I am grateful now that today`s SpiritView does let us recognize the error in order to correct our thinking – thats healing! 🙂

    I know it is important and desirable to pull out all the hidden bad habits in our thinking from the roots – only then we can reach the second and third degree of the SCIENTIFIC TRANSLATION OF MORTAL MIND on Parges 115/116 in Science and Health by MBEddy, what Evan mentioned in part at the end of S/V above!

    It is a challenge to root the error out, but it is worth it. Am so grateful for Christian Science!

  15. All I can say is “ouch”! Thank you for this helpful message, I have struggled with self on many occasions and though I knew it was wrong I ‘justified’ the justification! What a relief to know I have help. We love the Spirit View messages and all the comments. Thank you, Marlene

  16. Ruminating and worrying as forms of self-indulgence, of course! Illuminating. Thank you Evan for expressing this so clearly.

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